Thursday, July 2, 2009
ALTERNATIVE HEALING: WHEN HEALTH IS WEALTH
By Wilhelmina S. Orozco
Many people when feeling sick or have sick relatives readily run to a medical clinic or doctor in order to get healed. And usually, the kind of treatment they get is allopathic, or that which uses medicines processed by laboratories. Rarely do they get naturapathic treatment which is a not really new movement in the field of healing.
In our country, naturapathic goes back centuries even before the coming of the Spaniards. Our ancestors, the herbalists in them, were already using herbs, plants, and other natural substances in order to produce concoctions that could heal their subjects, coupled with prayers and even dancing. The Babaylan mostly women with a sprinkling of men, were such people readily approached by the common folks in order to heal their sick, and among other things, pray over the dead, as well as over start of and harvest gains in order to appease or thank their gods and goddesses. In other words, using natural herbs and plants, the Babaylan sought godly intervention and guidance in order to conduct all of those activities.
Behind those practices were the beliefs that healing takes place with divine intervention and not through human touch alone, and that healing also has to be connected with Mother Nature, not apart from it.
Hence, naturapathic healing is very much an easy but long-lasting approach to treatment which has now gained its rightful place in the health field in our country. No less than the Philippine General Hospital has a Department of Traditional and Indigenous Medicines proposed by former Secretary of Health, Jaime Galvez Tan. Amidst us are many herbal medicines, ranging from capsulized charantia and lagundi, to the herbal teas like the same lagundi, pito-pito (seven herbs) both concocted by inventor Erlinda Sanqui and her husband Jose, tsaang gubat, and many more. Then we also have Bioneem, a bacteria cleaning agent sourced from the neem leaves by no less than the most famous woman inventor, Carlita Rex Doran; herbal eyedrops with toothache healing properties like the Panlapu by Ms. Ramona Castro-Acuna, and liniment oils that are used for body massage. Probiotics drink and elemi oil have been invented by Jose Ingles with the first helping those having problems with elimination, and also who want to undergo rejuvenation. Elemi oil meanwhile is used as aromatherapy and for massage also.
In terms of treatment, the Richter Alternative Medicinal Clinic espouses the use of naturapathic practices. It was started in 1994 by Ms. Cecilia Almasa married to Ruel Lucentalles and who hails from Davao.
“Taga Davao kami, Ilonggo. Pero ang parents ko, taga Iloilo. My mother Nieves Esmejarda is from ilioilo and my father Bernardino Alamasa is from Bohol. 9kapatid, ako ang panganay. Nag nursing ako kasi yun ang gusto ko.” Thus, Ms. Lucentalles took up preparatory nursing at Centro Escolar University 1974 and then proceeded with her internship at Ortanez University from 1974-75.
From Mindanao to Manila
Being the eldest, Ms. Lucentalles had the drive to pursue further studies like iridology and naturapathy, especially colonics, which then attracted her to start her own clinic offering those practices. Iridology is a form of eye examination which reveals the diseases in the body while colonics is a form of intestinal cleansing.
The family established the first clinic in 1998, in Davao, and then the branches in 2000, in Cebu and Manila during which they also included medical practices thus allowing patients to get confined for complete detoxification therapy. In other words, they started this integrative practice of using medical drugs, blood transfusion, and use of antibiotics, side by side with alternative forms.
“Dati alternative (lang ang offer naming) like colonics, herbal therapy and other modalities, but in 2000, we started medical, (accepting patients for inhouse detoxification. Complete detoxification therapy which enhances the condition of the eliminative organs includes “irrigating” the skin, lungs, kidney, colon, and the lymphatics system. ‘Habang nililinis yung katawan, ina-adres talaga ang sakit.’
Richter Clinic also has resident doctors and consultants for medical treatment while on the naturapathic side, Ms. Lucentalles guides every program they offer, whether infrared, accupuncture, juicing therapy, and iridology.
Mel Pasion, a breast cancer patient once confined was given dextrose as her body was expelling food taken through the mouth, while her health medicines included both vegetarian pills and antibiotics to counter the spreading cancer cells in her body organs.
All kinds of cancer patients from breast to brain tumor and even those who do not feel pain but have tumor are admitted at the clinic. Many prefer it probably because of its homey atmosphere, a room having an extra bed for those caring for a patient the whole day, colorful curtains and decorative paintings adorning the walls.
Timing important in arresting cancer
However, full medical support is not enough for a patient to heal. The patient and the immediate family have to work together to show courage in overcoming the disease. Ms. Lucentalles said that if only patients would come to them when their cancer is just benign, there is 100 percent chance of recovering. However, “90 per cent of cancer patients enter Richter when their condition can be labeled grave to gravest already. They refuse to go to the hospital. Ayaw nilang lumipat sa hospital. Galing na sila duon. Ayaw na nilang ma-ICU. So dito na lang sila hanggang mamatay sila.” (They refuse to transfer to a hospital; some who had been there also refuse; they don’t want to undergo ICU treatment. So some stay here until they eventually die.)
Ironically, the name of the clinic, Richter is no fancy name but rather that of the discoverer of the scale used for measuring earthquakes. Richter is also the name of Ms Lucentalles’ son,Richter Jose born in 1980, and whom they had named as such, because of their past experience with a strong earthquake registering 7 in the Richter scale and which hit Cotabato City in 1976.
Since 1994, the clinic has had over 35,000 patients overall including Cebu and Davao which do not offer confinement unlike that in Manila with patients numbering about 3000 already.
Types of naturapathic herbs
Naturapathic consists of oral, injectable and paretheral. Oral food supplements are for cleansing, reparing cells, strengthening and nourishing the body. Some patients who cannot tolerate oral administration are giveninjectables like the vitamin C drip.
Ms. Lucentalles has found that those patients with families not offering support for alternative therapy do not get cured. This is because at present, to go alternative is considered conservative as against modern. “Sa atin, pag nagkasakit punta ka sa duktor, bili ka ng medicine (unlike) in other countries, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, traditional muna ang punta bago ang medical.
Nutraceutical - for natural healing herbals
“But this (naturapathy) is the original way of healing,” said Ms. Lucentalles. “Yan ang sinauna. Labatiba. Magkasakit ka, sumakit ang tiyan, labatibahin. Hilot, kasama yan. Ngayon Medicol, Biogesic tablets (pag masakit ang ulo.) Mas mabilis ang bumili ng gamut.
Nutraceutical is the opposite of pharmaceutical as it is a take off from the word nutrition. Nutraceutical means converting herbs into capsule forms. For example, malunggay leaves are dried and inserted in capsules for sale in packs.
To propagate “Wellness is better than cure,” mission, Richter conducts seminars about naturapathy and iridology. Promotion of its offerings is by word of mouth now which has been proven more effective. Its approaches are integrative, touching on the “spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the patient. ” Prayers and counseling are included to relax the many cancer patients who suffer from all kinds of stresses.
As medicines are too expensive to purchase for those sickly individuals, naturapathy affords a type of healing that could well be longer-lasting than those pills and capsules that could induce speedy recovery but not stronger resistance to viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. Hence the adage, "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." Cheap herbs that are easy to make into naturapathic healing elements could prove to be the Philippines' saving grace now and for all times.